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Australia 'lost' against Sri Lankan spin

AAP logoAAP 5/08/2016 By Will Knight

Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews was wildly understated when summing up his side's humiliation of Australia: "They look a bit lost when it comes to our spinners."

Mathews' assessment on Saturday came after he'd led his team to a crushing 229-run victory in the second cricket Test in Galle to seal the three-match series and win the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy for the first time.

The annihilation was completed half an hour into the second session of the third day when Peter Nevill was run out, and followed Sri Lanka's 106-run victory last week in Kandy.

It was a horrendous loss for No.1-ranked Australia, who were heavy favourites to win the series but were outclassed by a relatively young and inexperienced Sri Lanka.

Mathews punched the air in delight when Nevill was shown to be short of his ground, and soon after led his team - who were thrashed in England just two months ago - on a lap of honour in front of a joyous crowd.

Set a monstrous target of 413, Australia were never in the frame for a virtually impossible win given their batting woes during the series.

Australia went to stumps on Friday at 3-25 after a phenomenal 21 wickets fell on the typically dry Galle pitch, and their problems continued on Saturday, with a mix of crafty spin and poor batting leaving them all out for 183.

Australia at least bettered their first-innings failure when they were skittled for 106 - their lowest score in 28 Tests between the two countries.

After having few answers to left-armers Rangana Herath and Lakshan Sandakan in Kandy, they had most trouble with the right-arm off-spin of Dilruwan Perera, who ended with 6-70 and match figures of 10-99.

Of the 40 Australian wickets to fall in the series, 36 have been to spin.

Three dismissals - all to Perera - probably summed up the tourists' issues with the home side's slow bowling.

David Warner (41) was lbw to a skidding delivery, skipper Steve Smith (30) fended tentatively and was caught in close, and Adam Voges, trying to improvise with a reverse sweep, was bowled for 28.

"It's never easy when the ball is spinning and skidding and you don't know which one is which with guys around the bat," Smith said.

In his 11th Test, Perera became the fastest Sri Lankan bowler to take 50 Test wickets, beating Ajantha Mendis, who took 12 matches.

He also top-scored with 64 in Sri Lanka's second innings and was named man of the match.

For Australia, it was their eighth-straight away Test defeat against subcontinental teams, and Mitchell Starc's best Test figures of 11-94 were in vain.

"The guys are a bit down at the moment and fair enough, too," Smith said.

"It's been a tough series so far, we have been outplayed in both Test matches, the mood's not great ... but we've still got plenty to play for in Colombo.

"We have got to try and prove to ourselves and the public that we can play in these conditions."

AAP wk/jac

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